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Copy of the Letter written to Lord Bathurst.
Malta, 8th Nov. 1815.
I take the liberty of sending to your Lordship a vindication from a personal attack that has been made upon me, persuaded, as I am, that the English Government, in depriving me of all communication with the continent of Europe, has not the intention of extending its severity, so far as to deprive me of the means of repelling calumnies so odious as those which have been directed against me.
One of the French papers contains an article in which I stand accused of murder; I request that the remarks which I have the honor to address to your Lordship accompanying this letter may be inserted in the English papers. They are literally true, and the assertion is entirely false, that ever I made any visits to the Temple, or that I was ever charged with any commissions similar to those which the newspaper writers have ascribed to me, and which are contrary to the principles of honor.
I also transmit a note, in reply to a less direct accusation made against me, on the subject of the death of another Englishman, Mr. Bathurst; an event I was unacquainted with until I learned it from the questions that were put to me by his widow. If your Lordship thinks fit to give publicity to the same, I request that the personal particulars may be omitted.
I embrace this opportunity,
To offer to your Lordship
Every assurance of the highest respect.
Note on the Death of Mr. Bathurst.
I do not know exactly at what time this event took place, and if I had not remarked by the questions that were put to me on board
the Bellerophon, as well as by those addressed to me on board the Eurotas, that the general opinion was, that I had assisted in the disappearance or in the death of Mr. Bathurst, I should never have occupied myself in this reply.
These circumstances recalled to my recollection that at about the end of the year 1810, or in the beginning of 1811, Mrs. Bathurst came to Paris, and in an audience which sher equested, delivered a letter to me from the Minister of the Exterior of France, (then the Duke of Cadore) which explained the motive of Mrs. Bathurst's application to me. This lady requested of me, with so much importunity, to tell her frankly whether her husband was dead or living, that I could only attribute at the moment, to her excessive grief, the questions which, under that idea, were very painful to me, whilst in reality they were the result of a report which she had just heard. I have since learned that she was at that time thinking of marrying again, and found that she could not do so without a certificate of the death of her former husband.
I have a confused recollection that this event must have happened towards the end of the summer of 1809, I am not even sure that it was not in 1807. Whichever it was, is better known in England, but I beg leave to offer a reasoning on the subject that appears to me unanswerable.
Mr. Bathurst could only leave England in a vessel; if the vessel suffered shipwreck, the event is sufficiently explained; if not, the captain or some part of the crew can tell where Mr. Bathurst disembarked; and furthermore, it ought to be ascertained on the part of the innkeeper where he landed, how he travelled, and the postilion who drove him from each stage should say where he left him. A very child would see the propriety of this.
Supposing Mr. Bathurst was the victim of assassination, the place where he was attacked ought to be discovered, and the day and the very hour when the deed was committed.
That point settled, it may be remarked that this action could not have been performed by a man who quitted Paris with the Emperor the 11th of April, 1809, and did not return to it till the 29th of October, or, I believe, in the beginning of November, in the same year; especially when it is notorious that this man, who
is myself, did not leave the Emperor a single day during the whole campaign, and saw him several times every day.
But suppose, the assertion is made, that Mr. Bathurst was murdered on the road by the emissarics of the Emperor. To this I reply,
The Emperor was at Vienna, and was occupied in much more important concerns than the business of an English Courier up the Baltic, which was doubtless a circumstance of frequent occurrence. He must likewise have been informed of all the particulars of Mr. Bathurst's departure from London, of the spot where he landed, and of the route he proposed to make; granting even that he was sufficiently made acquainted with all these matters, is it reasonable, to admit that the Emperor would have dispatched from Vienna, with instructions which must have passed through twelve or thirteen hands, emissaries which, in the first place he had not, and in no one instance have I known him employ? And can it be supposed, I say, that he should place so much importance on the subject of possessing the papers of this Courier, and not employ more sure means of obtaining them? The journey that these emissaries would have had to undertake is the best refutation that can be offered.
We were at Vienna. Bohemia and a part of Saxony were occupied by the Austrians; Westphalia was in a state of insurrection, so that these emissaries would have had to cross the Danube, as far as Neubourg or Ingolstat, and would then have been obliged to have almost touched the borders of the Rhine, to arrive more securely at those of the Weser, and granting that they were animated with a prodigious zeal, and that they had encountered no obstacle in their road, they could not have arrived there until more than fifteen days after Mr. Bathurst would have passed. I have been told that Mr. Bathurst went by Bremen, it is only necessary to compare the two routes, first from London to Bremen, which was the distance Mr. Bathurst had to travel; and next from London to Paris to give advice of his departure, from Paris to Vienna to give information of it to the Emperor, and from Vienna to Bremen by the way of Ingolstat, which was the direction these pretended emissaries must have taken. The absurdity is too obvious,
and in either case it must be recollected, that as for myself, I never quitted the Emperor during the whole campaign! Is it not more probable, that, if the English Courier was prevented from the execution of his duty, the order for his seizure must have originated in Paris, there is no other possible way of accounting for the fact, and in that case I could not have been at all concerned in the affair. If again the event took place in the year 1807, I was absent the whole of that year either at the siege of Dantzig, or as Governor of Konigsberg.
I add some further particulars, because in consequence of having succeeded Mr. Fouché as Minister of Police, I have discovered that he had frequently the indelicacy, when he had reason to sus pect the issue of any business he had managed, with respect to himself, to throw the blame on the Emperor, whom he traduced in asserting that every villainous transaction was through my immediate agency, and that he himself, Mr. Fouché, was not informed of the matter till the evil was accomplished.
As his successor I have often heard of the seizure of a Courier at Bremen, and I recollect that he actually sent to the Emperor at Vienna dispatches found on the person of an English Courier near Bremen, who was going to Sweden. The Emperor did not attend to them for two or three days after they arrived; he doubtless must have imagined that they had been stolen from the Courier, and I will stake my life that those who committed the fact took good care to conceal the particulars of it from him. If these dispatches then belonged to Mr. Bathurst, it remains with Mr. Fouché to explain how they fell into his hands; and the English Government can very well settle the question, whether there were any other dispatches from the British Cabinet missing at that time...
For my own part, I am fully convinced that the Emperor never gave any order for the seizure of Mr. Bathurst; the mere actual time that it must inevitably have taken, to have informed him of the departure of the Courier, to have received his orders, and fi nally to have executed those orders-the mere actual time that it must have taken to do all this, I repeat, renders it a decided imposs sibility. This calumny then was forged by the intemperate zeal of a particular party; for six years it has been triumphant, but the odium must now be sustained by another.
I cannot forbear remarking that, whenever in the administration of Mr. Fouché an English life was lost, occurring always during the Emperor's absence, reference has undeviatingly been made to me as the person charged with the execution of the atrocity, and many facilities have occurred in the establishment of such an opinion respecting these enormities. vo voli avor
Among the quantity of proof by which I could destroy these disgraceful slanders, I shall only relate one fact, which concerns all the English, and the truth of which those who were in Sicily at the period I mention, can determine.
In the course of the year 1810 or 1811, a Sicilian vessel touched upon the coast of Dalmatia, and having landed an individual, immediately put to sea again; this individual repaired to the general quarters of Marshal Marmont, who was governor of the provinces of Illyria, and made known that he was the bearer of important communications for the French Government. Marshal Marmont having listened to his explanation of the affair forwarded an account of it to the Emperor, who sent me the Marshal's letter and desired me to summon the individual to Paris, and to receive his communications. He called himself L'Amelis, an officer of the Sicilian Marines, and stated that he was sent by the late Queen of S to make the following proposition to the Emperor; he expressed himself in French with sufficient clearness, to need no interpreter, and his exterior announced him to be the character he represented, he wore the Sicilian uniform, and had about his person unequivocal proofs of his identity.
He informed me that the Queen of S-- was extremely weary of the English yoke, and was resolved at any price to emancipate herself from it; that the Sicilian, the Albanian, and other foreign troops, were devoted to her service, that a conspiracy was organized and every thing prepared, and that she only waited his return, with an assurance on the part of the Emperor, that, in case of success, he would protect her from the vengeance of the English, to renew the Sicilian Vespers; or, in case of failure, allow her to retire and settle in some part of Italy.
This officer did not doubt of success, and was eager to return, fearing that the conspiracy might in the interim be discovered. I was of course obliged to make a report of this proposition to the Em